The National Coalition Against Censorship has joined more than 30 other prominent arts organizations in a friend of the court brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down the third version of the Trump travel ban issued in September 2017. On Wednesday the case, State of Hawaii v. Trump, will be heard by the Supreme Court.
The arts organizations argue that the ban has damaged artists’ freedom of movement and seriously inhibits the creative freedom and free flow of ideas the First Amendment is designed to protect.
Among the arguments made by the organizations are that the travel ban violates Americans’ First Amendment right to receive information by preventing citizens from interacting with the ideas and viewpoints of nationals of the targeted countries. The organizations further argue that the ban is “devastating to artists and cultural producers vulnerable for speaking out in repressive regimes.” The organizations go on to claim that these artists “look toward the U.S. as a place enabling them to work freely.”
Svetlana Mintcheva, director of programs at NCAC, said: “In a troubled and divided world, we need more understanding, not greater divisions. It is the voices of artists that help us understand, empathize, and see the common humanity underlying the separations of political and religious differences. Silencing these voices is not likely to make us any safer.”
Executive Order (EO) 13780, which is the target of the lawsuit, bans all immigration from six majority Muslim countries. It also places additional visa restrictions on nationals of Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Chad, and includes token restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela.